Eric and I have lived in South Boston (known as “Southie” in these parts) for a number of years and have grown to love the character of the neighborhood. Take, for instance, the local St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. It’s not classy by any means… but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. People are cheerful (ok, they’re tipsy) and everyone hangs out on the street. It’s one giant party. We typically start the day with a big brunch (mimosas and sometimes stronger concoctions are consumed) and then we make our way through apartments (this is where we stumble into a party thrown at our friend’s cousin’s coworker’s brother’s place). By around five, we’ve had it and the group scrounges up a bit of food for an early dinner. Bed soon follows.
As I said, it’s not classy. But we have a great time. This year, though, we’ll actually be heading up north to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday, but we’ll be thinking of our friends and neighbors in Southie, who I am sure will be having a blast. Maybe they’ll mix up this Irish Whiskey Smash in honor of the holiday.
Get the Irish Whiskey Smash recipe over at The Boys Club.
The conversation started so many months ago. I can’t even remember exactly when. September maybe? Maria and I met for coffee (ok, it was cocktails) after having connected through Twitter. We chatted about our various projects and backgrounds, but, really, we connected over our mutual love for food. At the time of our meeting, I had yet to get my hands on her book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, but the word around town was that the book was amazing. When I told her I hadn’t checked it out, she generously offered to send two copies (one for me and one for a giveaway). When the books came in the mail, I plopped down on the couch and began flipping through. Every single recipe looked right up my alley. Loads of healthy, vegetarian dishes. But some of the ingredients, well, I was a little nervous I’d get my hands on them.
And then, magically, in my CSA box, we received a bag of locally harvested triticale berries (a hybrid of wheat and rye). I had NO idea what I was supposed to do with them, so I sent Maria a message and asked her if there was a way to include them in one of her dishes. She directed me to her leek salad (“This recipe combines both of the cultures I was raised in, Germany and Greece: rye is widely used in Northern Europe while all the flavors of the salad are Mediterranean, orange, fennel, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and haloumi.”) and I was sold. I’d make it that week.
But then I didn’t… not that week nor the next week or month (well, four months) after. Until I got around to it last week… finally. Better late than never, right?
I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, removing the capers and adding in some marinated artichokes and I decided a little chopped up orange peel would add some brightness (I’ve come to terms with my obsession with citrus zest), but, really, the credit goes to Maria for building such a satisfying vegetarian dish.
Oh, and I do have a copy of Ancient Grains to giveaway. You won’t be disappointed. It’s chock-full of information about grains… where they come from, how to cook them, and what to do with them.
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Official Rules: This is open to US/Canadian residents only. No purchase necessary. Giveaway will end on March 18th 2013 at 12:00 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.
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Over the last year, I’ve had the honor of writing and photographing for Edible Boston. The spring issue has just hit stands and is available in a number of stores and restaurants throughout the city. Flip through and you’ll find an article that I did on local chefs who, in their spare time, enjoy tapping into their creative side. Chef Erwin Ramos, the owner of Ole, is a photographer and takes his camera on all of his travels to Mexico. Dave Becker of Sweet Basil spends hours in front of a potter’s wheel creating plates and bowls for the restaurant. And Jeffrey Fournier, Chef/Owner of 51 Lincoln, has been painting and displaying his work since he was a teenager.
Click Here To Read The Full Article
I dabbed heaping spoonfuls of gingery shrimp mixture in the center of wonton wrappers and clumsily attempted to fold them into little dumplings. Not a single one met my expectations. Eric watched as I struggled and provided silent emotional support. Often, he stays out of my way when I’m cooking, afraid that I might jump down his throat if he makes the smallest comment. I definitely get territorial and oddly sensitive when I’m in the kitchen. It’s my personal space and I’m usually not in the mood to have someone around to tell me I’m doing something wrong (which I almost always am).
It’d been my plan to make shu mai for quite some time. Growing up, I was a voracious eater, never turning down food, even if it was something a bit out of the ordinary. But my connection to cooking stems from a single moment from my childhood. It was over summer break and my sister was away at camp, leaving me with my parents for a full month. They filled each day with trips to the pool, art projects, and film festivals (one year we watched all of the James Bond films). One afternoon, they suggested that we make a recipe from a Chinese cookbook tucked on the shelf. We all agreed on shrimp shu mai and went to the store for the ingredients. Back at home, I peeled (heads and all) and deveined each one, a process that for a 9 year old took a lot longer than it should have. We chopped the scallion, herbs, garlic, and ginger by hand. A wok was placed on the stove, a bit of water added to the bottom, and was then covered with a bamboo steamer. A feast followed, the result of all the hard work.
It’s been almost 20 years since I last made shu mai, and I thought it was about time to try it again. The process was almost exactly how I had remembered. Except this time, I was joined by my husband. I didn’t want to push him aside, I wanted this to be something we experienced together. We stood there and made a few. I looked up at him and realized, at that moment, a new memory had been created.
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At the beginning of the year, when I sat down to think about the direction I wanted to take this site, I decided on a few things. One, I didn’t want to stress about it anymore. I’ve cut back on the number of posts. I think this will allow me to focus on creating quality content rather than trying to bang out material for the sake of putting it up here. And I think it will allow me to focus on the other things in my life, like relationships and exercise (still working on that one) and getting out a bit more to enjoy all the culture this city has to offer.
The second thing I decided was that I wanted to get back to the roots of why I started A Thought For Food. As a home cook, I created this site as a way to share recipes that I have come to love… and to hopefully inspire a few people along the way to try dishes they wouldn’t have normally made. I always want these recipes, whether my own creations or from the vast collection coming from my always growing magazine collection, to be accessible to the masses. For me, there’s nothing better than a meal that’s not only flavorful, but uncomplicated.
This marinated eggplant is one of those dishes that I can’t get enough of. I’ve been making it for years, which is why I’m kind of surprised it’s taken me this long to put it up. I recently prepared it for our annual winter BBQ, where we served up lamb kabobs and falafel, along with an assortment of middle-eastern inspired sides. The briny capers help to balance the richness of the eggplant, and the mint adds a brightness that almost makes you forget about the snow laden streets.
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Snow falls outside as I type. As much as I dread this weather, I’m also grateful for it. We’re forced to take a break from running around and slow things down a bit. On these days, Eric and I sit in front of our coffee table, reading the paper and nibbling on scones. I like to use this time to get some cleaning done, but after a few hours, we hunker down for a midday nap. These last few months (that is, since November) have been a bit hectic. Any open days have been packed with trips, parties, and family visits (which I love, but—you know—once in a while it’s nice to have a little alone time). As miserable as it may be to trudge through three feet of snow, it’s some much needed relaxation.
As you may have noticed, I’m a scone fan. Some folks are into brownies. Some are pie fanatics. Some folks deep-fry everything they see. Me? I’m into scones. Kind of strange, I know. So, if you’re getting tired of seeing scone recipes on here… well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not even close to being done with playing around with different kinds. You’re going to have to put up with them for a while longer.
This is the first time I’ve branched outside of my typical butter/milk/heavy cream combo and have included Greek yogurt (we had a few large tubs of plain Chobani in the fridge). The tang it provides is something I should have expected, but for whatever reason it never occurred to me and I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into them. They’re a little less flakey than my previous incarnations (most likely due to the moisture for the yogurt), but, nevertheless, I’m sold on these and I’ve already made them a number of times.
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